Several Iranian newspapers ran front page stories on the killing of 12 people at the Paris headquarters of satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo. Some focused on the tragic nature of the attack and labeled it terrorism. For example, Etemad published the headline “Black Wednesday in Paris.” But both conservative and reformist papers criticized Charlie Hebdo for publishing inflammatory cartoons depicting the Prophet Mohammed. And a few hardliner publications shifted the focus to criticizing French policy in the Middle East or rising “Islamophobia” in Europe.
ISIS Shoots The Bride of Europe Charlie Hebdo Attacked in Paris (Iran newspaper Ghanoon) pic.twitter.com/BLAtT4rquO— Negar نگار (@NegarMortazavi) January 9, 2015
On January 9, President Hassan Rouhani condemned violence perpetrated in Islam’s name. “Those who kill and carry out violent and extremist acts unjustly in the name of jihad, religion or Islam provoke Islamophobia whether they wish it or not,” he warned in a meeting with International Islamic Unity Conference delegates in Tehran. Rouhani did not directly reference the recent attacks by Muslim extremists in Paris. But his comments came two days after gunmen killed 12 people at the headquarters of satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo. The attackers reportedly said they aimed to avenge the Prophet Mohammed, who the magazine had depicted in political cartoons along with other religious figures. Two suspects, brothers Cherif and Said Kouachi, were killed in a raid on a printing plant on January 9 by French security forces.
We condemn violence, extremism & terrorism everywhere: whether in Palestine, Lebanon, Syria, Iraq or in Paris or in the United States. #WAVE— Hassan Rouhani (@HassanRouhani) January 9, 2015
In our view, terrorism & those who fund violence & #terrorism are condemned, whether these are countries in our region, Europe or America.— Hassan Rouhani (@HassanRouhani) January 9, 2015
Iran’s supreme leader and president take two different approaches to interfaith outreach. While extolling the qualities of shared prophets with Christianity and Judaism, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei often censures other countries or groups for supposedly not living up to the high standards set by Jesus, Moses and others. President Hassan Rouhani, on the other hand, focuses on shared values and faith rather than politicizing his messages to or about Jews, Christians and Zoroastrians.
• Two seats for Armenian Christians (who number between 40,000 and 80,000)
• One for Assyrian Christians (who number between 10,000 to 20,000) and Chaldean Christians,
• One for Jews (who number 20,000 to 25,000)
• One for Zoroastrians (who number between 25,000 to 60,000)
Contrary to teachings of #Jesus&prophets, arrogants caused corruption to spread, destroyed family, exploited the poor& spread WMDs. 12/28/91— Khamenei.ir (@khamenei_ir) December 24, 2014
It’s time for all caring Muslims, Christians & Jews to obey the prophets & truly honor #Jesus' birthday by standing up agnst Israeli crimes.— Khamenei.ir (@khamenei_ir) December 24, 2014
Ppl who immigrated to Occupied #Palestine in the name of Jews are greedy ppl& sometimes wicked & killer who are gathered fr across the world— Khamenei.ir (@khamenei_ir) July 21, 2014
#Holocaust is an event whose reality is uncertain and if it has happened, it's uncertain how it has happened.— Khamenei.ir (@khamenei_ir) March 21, 2014
Zoroastrianism and its followers have had a major impact on both Iranian & Islamic culture and civilization. #ZoroastrianWorldCongress— Hassan Rouhani (@HassanRouhani) December 27, 2013
Photo credits: Khamenei.ir and President.ir
On December 29, 2014, Iran held a funeral for Brig. Gen. Hamid Taqavi, a senior Revolutionary Guards commander who was killed in the Iraqi town of Samarra, home to a Shiite shrine. The Revolutionary Guards did not detail the scope of Taqavi's role in Iraq. But he was reportedly the highest-ranking Iranian military officer to be killed in Iraq since the 1980s.
— Dec. 7, 2014 in a joint press conference with Iraqi Foreign Minister Ibrahim al Jaafari
— June 24, 2014, according to press
On January 6, Iran’s parliament called a snap vote over Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif’s handling of nuclear talks with the world’s six major powers. Conservative lawmakers had accused the minister of making too many concessions in the most recent round of diplomacy in December.
But Zarif hit back, arguing that “no one today dares to question Iran’s nuclear program, demanding its suspension. The disagreement is merely on the level of [uranium] enrichment. This is our achievement.” The minister also emphasized that progress in negotiations has helped change the perception that Iran was “threatening and dangerous for world security.” The Islamic Republic is now better positioned to play “an influential and serious role on the regional and international stage,” Zarif added.
After answering seven questions posed by 40 lawmakers, Zarif won the support of a little more than half of the 229 present. Some 125 backed him, 86 voted against him, eight did not express a preference and 10 abstained. No repercussions were attached to the vote, but a loss would have damaged the credibility of Zarif and, by extension, President Hassan Rouhani.
New Report by U.S. Institute of Peace and Stimson Center: Recommendations to Rebalance U.S. Policy Toward Iran